Mark Sanford’s campaign took the unusual step of buying a full-page ad in the Sunday Charleston Post and Courier in which the candidate makes a direct appeal to voters days after it was revealed that his ex-wife Jenny Sanford accused him of trespassing at her home.
The charge, which he does not deny, questioned whether the South Carolina Republican could maintain his front-runner status in the special election for his old congressional seat – despite its conservative leanings -- against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch.
Sanford, who begins by saying, “It’s been a rough week” -- though he makes no mention of the Boston bombings -- goes on for more than 1,200 words, giving his version of events that brought him to ex-wife Jenny’s house on the day of the Super Bowl, says the news of the revelation caught him “by surprise,” and even tries to blame the media.
“Leaving aside the unusual timing of supposedly sealed documents coming to light two weeks before an election – Jenny and I have both agreed that our efforts at raising our four boys are best considered and weighed privately, rather than over the airwaves,” he writes. “Though we may be public figures, we are still human figures who struggle just as so many other families and divorced couples do in getting childrearing right as best you can. It’s hard enough on its own and it’s nearly impossible when the media is sensationalizing things.”
He adds, “By original accounts you would have thought I was randomly sneaking around the house at Sullivans, when, in fact, I was returning a son from a neighborhood Super Bowl party. I did, indeed, watch the second half of the Super Bowl at the beach house with our 14-year-old son because, as a father, I didn’t think he should sit alone and watch it.”
He also warned of stepped-up spending by national Democrats on behalf of Colbert Busch, ahead of the May 7th special election. Last week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic super PAC House Majority PAC both announced six-figure ad buys in the district, running tough anti-Sanford ads. He says the ads “hit hard” but are “untrue.”
“It seems like Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have decided to try and buy this race,” he contends.
He should also be concerned about stepped down Republican spending. The National Republican Congressional Committee announced last week that it would stop raising money for Sanford’s race.
Sanford’s ex-wife has repeatedly said, her goal was to protect her children. On the night of Sanford’s primary victory, his 14-year-old son Bolton was seen in a picture behind Sanford and next to Sanford’s ex-mistress and now-fiancée, Maria Belen Chapur, a TV reporter from Argentina. It was Bolton’s first time meeting Chapur.
“That was indeed Bolton’s first intro and both boys were quite upset and visibly so,” Jenny Sanford texted to the Washington Post.
There has been no public polling since the revelations that had been in divorce documents, but clearly Sanford is worried they will have an effect on his campaign.
As he has in the past, Sanford told readers to call his campaign headquarters if they had questions. But this time, he even offered what he says is his cell phone number.